United States Justice Sonia Sotomayor is a rock star. She will be coming to Los Angeles on January 26 for a public program through Writers Bloc Presents, and will appear in conversation with gorgeous actress and activist Eva Longoria. Many assumptions I had were squashed, and several surprises popped up for me as producer of this upcoming literary event.
One would imagine that lawyers of all stripes would grab tickets to see Justice Sotomayor. It is rare indeed for a sitting justice of the United States Supreme Court to visit Los Angeles for a relatively inexpensive public program. Justices might swing into town for an appearance at a bar convention, as a featured speaker. One might roll in to deliver a commencement address, for example, or perhaps as the "entertainment" at an annual dinner for a nonprofit organization, university or law school. But I can't remember many times when a beloved and admired Justice took the stage at a public program here in L.A.
Justice Sotomayor didn't land on the bench -- the biggest, most impressive and formidable bench in the world -- by planning and sheer force of will. From housing projects in the Bronx to Princeton, to Yale Law, and ultimately to that magnificent Court in Washington, D.C., her arc wasn't automatic, to be sure. Her destiny wasn't predictable. But it is remarkable. And therein lies the tale. She reveals her challenges and her backstory in her new book, My Beloved World.
Attorneys are her main audience, I thought. Women attorneys. Or attorneys of any gender who applauded her nomination by President Obama. Attorneys who feel awe in the presence of a Supreme Court Justice whom they respect and admire. So, you get it -- attorneys.
But it's not lawyers who are dashing me approving emails about this program. Notes pour in from teachers of Latina high school girls in the Inland Empire who draw inspiration from the Justice's story, girls who, according to one teacher, might never have travelled outside of Riverside into L.A. And from Latina women who are professional, successful and accomplished, who had the great good fortune to meet with her for a bit a year or so ago over tea. And from LAUSD administrators who chose her name to grace their new charter school in Los Angeles -- the Sonia Sotomayor Learning Academies. These aren't attorneys -- they're people who have drawn profound inspiration and hope from a woman who, still pretty young by my account, has become a symbol of magnificent determination. Of potential. She is our 21st century emblem of beautiful and real possibility.
It was Justice Sotomayor's idea to have Eva Longoria, desperate housewife extraordinaire, chat with her onstage on Saturday afternoon, January 26. Of course I knew that Ms. Longoria put in an enormous amount of time and energy in the president's reelection campaign. What I didn't know is her far-reaching commitment to and activism on behalf of Latina health and education, and to Latino/Latina advancement for men, women and children. Not just through philanthropy, but through documentaries, and through community activism.
As I walked into a local shop near my home, the young owner asked me, "Hey Andrea, are tickets still available for the Judge and the Housewife?" The Judge and the Housewife -- that's one way to put it.
For more information on this public event, visit writersblocpresents.com.